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Lately, I’ve been reflecting on things. I suppose this is often the case during this time of the year. There’s been a great bit of good. But, there’s also been some serious change and pain, as well. And, though there’s still another 37 days left in the year, the process of looking back and forward simultaneously has begun.
This year Thanksgiving is a bit different for me. This is the first year my Dad won’t be at the table with us. In fact, he won’t be anywhere in any house. He won’t even be found sitting outside enjoying the fresh air and jiving with anyone. Interestingly, this is curious to me. It’s curious how things will play out, if the lack of his presence will be mentioned, or if it’ll just be felt. Not having my Dad here in this life anymore is still a painful thing. If I don’t think about it, I don’t feel the pain so deeply. Yet, sometimes I can’t not think about it. And in those moments, the loss is so obviously apparent I’m not always sure if I’m really ok.
See, in the everyday living of being a Mom, Wife, and Homemaker there isn’t a ton of time for me. I don’t get much time for self-reflection or just plain sitting with myself and my thoughts and feelings. The time does come, it’s just sporadic. Having 2 wonderfully growing little boys takes so much of my energy. Pouring myself, my love, and my drive for them to have a good future, to know they’re loved, to teach and balance their budding independence and my desire to ensure everything is right for them isn’t an easy task. No Mother thinks it is, but every Mother knows the precarious precipice of doing just enough for their children and for themselves. So, showing up for the boys takes me away from showing up for myself. Thus, I question sometimes if I’m really ok or not.
I want to be ok. Really. I also want for my Dad to be here sharing life with me. And yet, none of that is true. My Dad isn’t here and he won’t be again. Nor am I really ok. I look ok. I act ok. Even saying to others I’m ok. But, I’m not. And I wonder if I will really be ok again.
So, this Thanksgiving is a curious one. There’s more grief in the family, too. Another family members’ father is ill. He suffered a massive stroke a couple months ago and is having a slow-going recovery. He’s not home yet, either, but with much planning and determination, he’ll be at the table this year. He’s not perfect either. Well, none of us are, truthfully. Yet, he’ll be there somewhat himself. And, even that kind of pain is still better than the pain of my Dad not being there.
Nonetheless, Thanksgiving is happening and life keeps moving. I’ll keep saying and acting as if I’m ok. I may never really be ok again and I accept this as part of my reality. I’ll honor myself and my feelings. Recognizing my loss and the incredible amount of strength it will take to show up and be present with those who are still here. I’ll even take some quiet, special moments to spend reflecting on life and loss, presence and spirit. After all, what more can one ask of themselves? Or maybe more accurate, what more can I ask of myself?
In this same vein (and in honor of my 35th birthday), I’m listing 35 things I’m grateful for this Thanksgiving.
In no particular order this is my list:
- Stability of mind
- Experiences in the woods
- Monkey Boy
- Turtle Boy
- Our home
- Life changes & challenges
- Good food
- The warmth of sunshine
- Trees in our yard
- Free movement throughout my body
- Running water
- Access to clean drinking water
- Access to information & the ability to make my own decisions
- Employment (for myself & for Hun)
- The internet, libraries, and books
- Hearing the expression of different opinions & ideas
- The acceptance of and expansion into others’ family
- Bills that are paid every month
- Feeling both joy & pain
- Our vehicle
- New life experiences
- Kindness from others
- Warmth on cold nights
- Watching the boys grow
Are you missing someone this year? How do you manage the pain and obviousness of loss at a gathering table? Alternatively, what are some things you’re grateful for this Thanksgiving?